In my last post I talked about some of the keynote speakers that I enjoyed, in this post I would like to also include some of the breakout sessions that I attended, as well as the evening event. The very first one I went to appealed to my ‘arty’ side as it included a photography project. Emma Adamson (@BookishEmma), Celia Jackson (senior lecturer, Photography), and Barbara Colley from the University of South Wales talked about a project between library staff and photography students. The project helped library staff get over a difficult time of change and transition, whilst giving a group of students, who hadn’t really engaged with the library previously, the opportunity to have their work taken seriously and have their photographs decorate the library space, giving them some ownership and investment in the library. Library staff got to vote on the final works, and an evening event welcomed the participating students and their families to see the results. Staff and library users felt that the photographs fitted into the space so well it was if they had always been there, but they also generated conversations especially when they were being hung. In our session we were then given the chance to vote on what our favourite image was, and we had time to peruse the images and discuss what we liked about them. One of the prints will be given a permanent position in a counselling room. The project worked really well for all involved, and is something that could be taken up by other institutions quite easily.
Later in the morning there was a key note talk from Professor Jon Anderson (Cardiff University) (@LitAtlasWales)about Literary Atlas Wales. Described as “…an interactive online atlas that offers a range of maps which locate English-language novels set in Wales.” This project sounded absolutely fascinating (and I wish I had his job!!). Out of 323 English language books based in Wales, a short list of 12 was created with detailed maps, plotlines, notes, and interviews. I’ve only read three out of the twelve so perhaps have some reading to do. The atlas uses ‘distant’, ‘deep’ and ‘artistic’ mapping of the novels and “hopes to stimulate new understandings of literature and place and the geographical nature of the human condition.” Taking a look at the pages for Aberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce, it turns out that the Moulin Club, run by Druids, with “women selling the promise and practice of nightly relations at a fixed price” although situated on the fictional Patriarch Street, can be mapped onto Pier Street, which is where my B&B was located…
I certainly recommend that you take a look at the atlas, and you could probably lose a couple of hours working your way around. They are also keen for people to get involved and contribute.
After the day’s events we adjourned to the National Library of Wales for the Welsh Librarian of the Year and the Tir na n-Og awards. I didn’t envy the committee having to decide which of the nominees would win the Welsh Librarian of the Year as all the candidates excelled in their field. In the end the honour went to Tracey Stanley, Deputy University Librarian, Cardiff University.
Following on from this were the Tir na n-Og English language awards and we were treated to some mini interviews with the nominees about what their books were about, how they came to write them, how they became children’s authors originally and where they liked to write. Paul Jeorrett introduced and interviewed the authors and revealed he had compiled a play list to go with the books which was being played on his radio show practically as the awards were taking place. The winner was Hayley Long with The Nearest Far Away Place, and I now have a copy waiting to be read at home.
On the second day I, unsurprisingly, attended the ‘cataloguing & metadata session’ which included two papers. The first by Amy Staniforth about developing shared practice with colleagues across Wales which was about the WHELF (Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum) co-operative cataloguing group which emerged out of the WHELF shared LMS procurement process. Amy described how the community of cataloguers has developed through discussions about international standards and the creation of templates, and has been empowering members to raise awareness of metadata more widely. Although I have been part of this community it was informative to hear about the group’s activities and to clarify for me just how much we have achieved so far; not forgetting that one of the cataloguers, Jane Daniels ( Cardiff Metropolitan University), was nominated for Welsh Librarian of the Year.
Following this was Doreen Barnaville (Cardiff Metropolitan University) and Christine Megowan (Cardiff University) talking about curating and cataloguing artists’ books. This presentation followed on from a cataloguing training day held earlier in the year. Doreen and Christine’s presentation included a myriad of images of artists’ books, primarily from the collection at Cardiff Met, and talked about how cataloguers can best engage in recording the details of these items which may not fit into a traditional book format (think ‘pages’ of stone or wood, or 3D objects). They also discussed ways of engaging students with these items, and the successful projects that had been achieved.
This post has turned out to embrace the more arts based aspects of the conference, which I certainly enjoyed, and I should perhaps mention here that participants at the conference were encouraged to make their own avatar out of play doh. Here is mine, although I should point out that I was eating chocolate cake at the time, so is perhaps not the best example!
In my next (and final) post on the conference I will look at some of the other sessions that made an impact on me.